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Kia Carnival All Aboard

Hitting the road with Kia South Africa’s all-new Carnival MPV

By on 12 Sep 2023

In a country with so much to offer in terms of family weekend-away adventure and activity, the so-called “people mover”, or MPV segment has always been a significant one. Despite the steady rise in popularity of raised ride height SUVs, the appeal of being able to load up to eight passengers and their respective luggage into a vehicle shaped like a delivery van is yet to wane. In fact, according to Kia South Africa, it’s a segment that in 2022 showed a 15% increase in terms of monthly sales; perhaps the events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic encouraged people to hit the open road on every available occasion once again…

In its fourth generation, the vehicle that a South African audience knows as the Grand Sedona has changed its name to Carnival. Naming convention aside, together with its increased exterior dimensions and modern family-familiar styling compared with the outgoing model, this flagship member of Kia’s current portfolio retains its standing as a striking-looking alternative to the establishment in this segment, including the VW Caravelle, Ford Tourneo and the Carnival’s Hyundai Staria cousin.

Sharing its platform with the modern Kia Sorento SUV, the appeal of the Carnival is that it offers a more car-like driving position and thus superior on-road dynamics compared with the relatively tall stance of many of its rivals.

Available in a choice of seven exterior colours, the new Kia Carnival is sold in a choice of four specification levels, starting with EX trim and culminating in an SXL derivative. With a welcome level of standard equipment throughout the range, the appeal in terms of larger families of the EX+ model is that it features seating for six rear seat passengers in a 3+3 configuration. In the other versions, the second row of seating takes the form of two dedicated seats with passage through the middle into the third-row bench – thus able to accommodate 5 passengers in the rear. A welcome inclusion regardless of the seating configuration is dedicated climate control vents for all occupants.

In all models, the third row of seating can be folded neatly into the luggage compartment when not required to free up additional packing space. That said, even with all seats in place, the Carnival offers a claimed 1 139 litres worth of luggage space.

All but the entry-level EX derivative offer electrically operated sliding side doors and a tall-opening tailgate – each of which can be conveniently accessed via the key fob.

The Kia Carnival is fitted with this Korean brand’s new 2.2-litre turbodiesel motor that is paired exclusively with an 8-speed automatic transmission. The advantage of this 148 kW/440 N.m powertrain is that it is more than capable of managing the respective bulk of this product, while also returning respectable average fuel consumption figures, both traits commendable when it comes to road tripping.

Kia is suitably proud of its continued success in both global design and build-quality consumer studies (including J.D. Power in the US), a foundation that allows its local office to include a standard 5-year/unlimited km warranty on all its products. The Carnival also features a full bouquet of modern safety features.

The Kia Carnival range starts at R869 995, with the top-of-the-range SXL model priced at R1 094 995.

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